Ceramic supply chain consolidates the bright results of 2022
Sample surveys by Mecs study center confirm that machine and ceramic manufacturers' turnovers are holding up, after a 2021 that saw revenues and margins grow in double digits.
Although the downstream market has been affected by the perfect storm of soaring energy costs and shortages of raw materials and semiconductors, entrepreneurs in the ceramics supply chain are preparing to close out 2022 with good market performance and healthy balance sheets.
In Italy, where the Mecs study center conducts quarterly sample surveys of leading ceramic technology manufacturers to sound out market trends and prospects, 2022 will close in line with the previous year's results, driven by excellent performance in the domestic market and substantial resilience in foreign markets. After a frothy start to the year, in the wake of the excellent 2021, from the summer onward the dynamism of Italian manufacturers-which account for about half of the world ceramic machinery market-has been waning, but the year still closes on a positive note, despite the minus signs in the second half of the year, with an increase that is estimated to exceed 5 percentage points over the 2021 results (consolidated data will be presented at the end of June 2023).
From the perspective of the economic and financial performance of the ceramic supply chain in 2022, we also expect, compared to the 2021 budgets, a substantial alignment of revenues and only a slight reduction in margins. In fact, the two reports just published, one on the budgets of the 158 leading ceramic machinery manufacturers and the other on the budgets of 345 major global players in the ceramic tile industry , confirm the solid recovery of the sector, driven by European districts, in Italy and Spain.
Ceramic technology manufacturers returned in 2021 well above pre-Covid levels in terms not only of revenues but also of value added per employee and margins. In turn, tile manufacturers saw revenues grow by almost 30 percent in 2021, with a peak for Italian companies, which reached a record figure of 344,000 euros in operating revenues per employee. Although it is Spanish manufacturers that hold firmly the scepter of producers with the highest margins and highest rate of investment worldwide.
It is worth noting that 2021 was also a year where, in the face of an increase in employment levels-which were maintained if not actually increased during 2022-productivity indices increased by 20 percent in the ceramic industry, partly because of the strong investments that the supply chain has made in recent years.